Douglas McKeige and his media company advise investors on climate-friendly opportunities for good financial returns
Douglas McKeige, A79, gets the word out. A former securities litigator and hedge fund executive, he co-founded The Climate Capitalist (TCC), an online media company designed to help investors accelerate and profit from the transition to clean energy. “There’s no greater imperative driving investment decisions today than climate change,” says McKeige. “I want to arm our readers with informed intelligence and analysis of energy and power markets and target opportunities for enhanced returns.” His role as editor-in-chief also takes him into the field, where he has questioned Sen. Joe Manchin about creating more renewable energy jobs and toured a New Jersey biogas plant that turns organic waste into energy.
Growing Fan Base
Since its 2019 launch, this forward-looking news source has attracted several thousand followers, including former presidential candidate Tom Steyer and environmentalist author Bill McKibben. Another fan is entrepreneur Michael Sonnenfeldt, founder of Tiger 21, a network for wealthy investors. “Doug and his TCC team have identified issues and opportunities I hadn’t thought of. They always surprise me with what they’ve discovered,” says Sonnenfeldt. In addition to its articles and video reports, TCC offers a weekly newsletter; subscription is free.
Seeing the Light
Ninety-nine percent of the people McKeige knew on Wall Street did not understand global warming, nor did they realize it would create sweeping changes in markets and economies, he says. For years his own lack of knowledge nagged him, until in 2019, he started taking classes in environmental law at Pace University. To benefit the climate cause, he decided that creating a newsletter would be the best use of his legal, finance, and investing skills.
All Eyes on Capitalism
TCC’s content ranges from investment advice, trend analysis, and company profiles to personal advice in stories like “Building a Better Than Net Zero House.” In the story “Exxon Breached,” for example, McKeige draws on his legal expertise to explain the shareholder vote that shook up the energy giant’s board. TCC looks at companies at “the heart of the path forward” in solar, wind, hydrogen, energy storage, electric vehicles, and car charging. ESG investing, which relies on environmental, social, and governance screening criteria, gets close scrutiny from McKeige, who contends it is different from investing in the clean energy transition. “Just because a company has good governance doesn’t mean it’s doing anything important to decarbonize,” he says. Private equity options also get a close look on TCC. “You can get an interest in a solar farm and generate an eight or 10 percent cash-on-cash return with some good depreciation benefits,” says McKeige.
The Hull Story
TCC’s team includes managing director Steve Kirkpatrick, A90, and managing editor Cathy Hausman, J80. At Tufts, all three helmed larks, 13-foot dinghies, on the sailing team. “We like to win, and we like to have fun,” says McKeige, who sees parallels between racing and climate complexities. “Every second you’re on the water, the dynamics change—the wind, the waves, your competition. It's a constantly moving puzzle. You're taking all these pieces of information and trying to figure out the best path forward.”
McKeige, who divides his time between Houston and New York, thrives on changing mindsets and helping to speed the clean energy transition. While it has been challenging to launch a new business venture in his mid-60s, he says, “every time we finish a piece, get it out there, and see our readership’s response, it’s very satisfying. We’re really proud of the stuff we’ve done.”